Freshness is the key to great espresso. I'm still looking for a great local roaster in or near Fairfield County. I've tried a few, and while the blends are fine, its impossible to tell the age of the beans. By the time they end up on the shelf at Whole Foods, often they are well past their prime.
Stew Leonard's roasts their own blends, but knowing when they are roasting each type is tricky. I'm going to see if I can talk to the roast master there to better understand his calendar.
Until then, I'll fly small bags of Hairbender Espresso Blend from Portland-based Stumptown Coffee Roasters back from Seattle every few weeks.
Word on the street is that newcomer Sugar and Olives (on the Westport/Norwalk border) also sells bags of Gorilla Coffee from Brooklyn, one NYC's best roasters.
Next Step for me in my quest for crema? Home Roasting!
Stick around if you're interested in creating a better local coffee scene, starting in your own home.